Longtime community volunteer Mike Luce dies at 68 - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Longtime community volunteer Mike Luce dies at 68

Philip Michael “Mike” Luce Philip Michael “Mike” Luce

Philip Michael “Mike” Luce, 68, a well-known businessman and Big Island community leader, died Oct. 5 at the Queen's Medical Center.

Born in Los Angeles, Luce earned a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of California and did graduate work in cinematography at California State University.

His contracting work experience began in trainee and supervisory positions in Southern California heavy construction from the age of 14 to 1970, when he moved to Hawaii to serve as project engineer for the H-3 Windward Terminus on Oahu.

He then moved to the Big Island to help build Kohala’s Akoni Pule Highway and later served as grade superintendent for Kuwaye Bros./Allied Aggregates for more than four years on the construction of Queen Kaahumanu Highway and the Waikoloa Resort, Puako and Mauna Kea access roads.

In 1977, he founded M. Luce Contracting, Inc., to provide civil engineering services until 2004.  In 2003, Mike started MLC, Inc., a consultancy for Hawaii County Land Use Planning and Project Site Preparation. 

While Luce was a successful businessman, he is best known for his extensive volunteer service.

He was volunteer chair of the Hawaii County Planning Commission, and more recently, participated in drafting the South Kohala Community Development Plan.  

His interest in films, lighting and the performing arts prompted him to volunteer one day to help run the lights for an upcoming Kahilu Theatre performance, and he continued doing this for decades, including becoming a key member of the traveling production team that the late Richard Smart would fly to Honolulu annually to present shows at Diamond Head Theatre.

His involvement in Kahilu Theatre grew from running lights and tech into serving as president of the board of directors.

He was also a long-time member of North Hawaii Rotary, served on the UH Hilo and West Hawaii Chancellor’s Advisory Committee, the Kohala Ditch Foundation board, and had for the past several years chaired Waimea Community Association’s Planning and Design Review Committee. 

Luce is survived by his wife, Suzanne Hill.

A celebration of Luce's life will be held Nov. 7. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests making a memorial gift to Kahilu Theatre Foundation.

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